Mouse Lanterns

I decided to start off this Chinese New Year break with a trip to Disneyland. I mean. Why not. So, of course, my main French- Canadian ride or die joined me.

Hotel

We stayed at one of the Hanting hotels, Hanting Zhoupu, near Disney. IT was just a short walk from the metro station. First, we had to find the right street though because the metro stop is not in an easily accessible area. After following the ebikes through a narrow dirt road we came to a huge intersection and it would have been smooth sailing, but we couldn’t find the door. A local noticed us struggling and spoke English, so she helped us. The staff was friendly and knew enough English to make sure we had all we needed to check in AND help me put in the address of the hotel and get tea delivered (Just for that I will be back.)

The hotel is located in a shopping HUB, which was great! It would have been even better if it weren’t Chinese New Year when everything was closed. We did find a Beijing hotpot where we HAD to eat because… hotpot. It took us forever to translate the menu and make sure we had all our favorite dishes (lotus is a must) but the staff was so patient and friendly. The food was great. We ordered so much.

The staff was friendly and knew enough English to make sure we had all we needed to check in AND help me put in the address of the hotel and get tea delivered (Just for that I will be back.) It is located in a shopping HUB which was great! It would have been even better if it weren’t Chinese New Year when everything was closed. We did find a Beijing hotpot where we HAD to eat because… hotpot. It took us forever to translate the menu and make sure we had all our favorite dishes (lotus is a must) but the staff was so patient and friendly.

I’m usually a quick shower taker, but the super hot shower and amazing water pressure in the hotel made me want to stay in there forever after our long day. Here it goes…

Shanghai Disney

Helene and I set off early in the morning (our DiDi left at 6:20) and got to the park gates around 6:30. It was a super quick ride with no traffic until we hit the gates. Poor DiDi driver though had to listen to us belting the new Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. We had to get into the mood. #sorrynotsorry

Let me tell you about these lines. The lines were LOOONGGG. People were running to get to the entrance gate as soon as possible and Helene and I couldn’t figure out what the rush was. Well, come to find out, we had to choose the BUSIEST day of the year to come. Apparently, this is the day people try to get in before they travel home for the new year. They weren’t even selling tickets at the gate.

Getting Started

We finally made it in and scanned our ticket on the Shanghai Disney app to get our fast pass (#disneytip 1). But instead of being smart, we wandered around and didn’t go ride another popular rollercoaster before the lines got long there (#disneytip 2). So while we were shopping, and enjoying the nice cool (cold) morning, the people who knew what to do got to get on all the rides.

Chinese New Year Decorations

I really wanted to come during the new year to see some of the New Year festivities. The park was decked out with the most adorable mouse lanterns, Hamm coins, and red and yellow decorations. And I HAD to buy my Chinese New Year ears! In the morning they had pictures with the characters in traditional outfits (better luck next time Bri) and small drumming performance at the end of Mickey Avenue.

But this castle though. IT IS HUGE! I loved walking around it and through it. I usually ignore the castle at Disney parks.

We also loved the Disneyland Park music and are looking for the CD. There is just something about Disney songs with a Chinese twist.

Rides

We thought we were so cool skipping through the fast pass line for Tron. Little did we know by the time we were able to book our second FastPass on the app (#disneytip 3) they were all taken! Thus we spent the next hours figuring out which ride was worth a three-hour wait. The weather was beautiful as the sun came up and only felt really cold when we were standing in line for hours without moving.

Let’s talk about Tron though. RIDE IT. It is my new favorite ride! I love the whole light cycle seating! It. Is. Amazing! It is a must do at night when everything is lit up. Luckily we were able to ride it twice, even though it was closed for a few hours that afternoon.

In total, we rode four rides, and Tron twice. Our favorite rides were the Pirates of the Caribbean (amazing effects) and Rex’s Hotwheels (steeper than we expected). You can never go wrong with the good ol’ mine train (high ho, high ho…). My favorite place is the Alice and Wonderland maze, although I have to do it again when there are no people to fulfill my Mad Hatter Tea Party photography obsession.

If you are going to Shanghai Disney with crowds here are two tips:

  1. Download the app! You can book fast passes and check the wait time on all the rides. You can even schedule your day
  2. PEOPLE WILL CUT IN FRONT OF YOU. PEOPLE WILL PUSH YOU. Push back. *shrugs*

Food

Alright. Disney food. NOTHING was open when the park opened at 8 so we were really hungry trying to find something to tie us over until we at least got one ride under our belt We ended up with crap corndogs. In all, we tried:

  1. Mickey Mouse Pretzel- Meh. We needed something to fill our stomachs
  2. New Year Matcha Ice Cream- YUMMYYYY
  3. Cinnamon Sugar Mickey Mouse Donut- “It tasted like nothing.”- Helen
  4. Sprinkled Mickey Mouse Donut- Not worth it
  5. Dumplings (Except they were totally Baos)- Good. We were starving. They were gone in two minutes.

Also! We met the guys who were at the park for the grand opening of the Baozza snack! You can find it in Tomorrowland. It is a take on the traditional Bao, but has pizza inside. So it’s like a Chinese Hot Pocket! I have to try that next time.

More Chinese New Year Decorations

My favorite exhibit is the Garden of Imagination with the wall of Disney animals representing each year. It is so beautiful seeing the details in the tiled mosaics.

The fireworks were of course amazing. I didn’t really watch them because it was very similar to the show in Tokyo Disneyland and I LOVED that show. So I just wandered around taking pictures while people were distracted by shiny lights and loud noises.

We left the park at closing after running to catch Rex Hotwheels, because the line had been three hours all day. It was worth it, and after 16 hours and 29,000 steps of Disney, we were done. I haven’t gotten out of bed since.

Published by brianalennet

Visual anthropologist and digital storyteller

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